Suggestions of MLAs will be followed by Depts, assures CM

Suggestions of MLAs will be followed by Depts, assures CM

Kohima, February 15: Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio today complimented members from both the opposition and treasury benches for enthusiastic participation in the general discussions of Budget 2020-21 and assured that their suggestions will be followed with sincere commitment by the respective departments.
In his concluding remarks on the Budget discussion in the Assembly today, Rio appreciated the opposition members for their constructive criticism that were made with genuine concern for the welfare of the State.
An alert opposition that highlights the shortcomings of the Government and points out its mistakes ensures better performance and delivery of the treasury, he said, adding that both the benches are accountable to the people, and efficient performance on our part will ensure better delivery and good governance.
On use of the word “anti-Naga” during the debate on CAA by him, Rio said it was done so because of “our strong and correct opinion that Nagas are protected by Article 371A and the ILP Regime of the BEFR 1873”.
These provisions and protections have come to the Naga people after unexplainable sacrifices and sufferings of the Nagas as a result of our political movement, he said, adding that as elected representatives and political leaders it is the bounden duty of the Government to always stand by the view that Nagas are well protected by these provisions.
“If we do not firmly stand on such a view, then who will speak out in favour of the Naga people? he asked.
He cited that after the CAA became a law, Meghalaya assembly had passed a resolution demanding for implementation of ILP in Meghalaya to protect the interest of their State.
“Cannot the NPF understand that even other states are demanding ILP regime in order to be protected,” Rio said while maintaining that Manipur has been pacified after ILP was introduced there.
Accepting the opposition argument that budget has not covered most of the departments, Rio however said the financial details are reflected in the budget documents in sufficient detail.
The Government had actually chosen to focus more on innovative initiatives and programmes, but this does not imply that we have been inactive, he said. “We have during the last ten months taken many new and innovative steps in various sectors to take our State forward,” he claimed.
Rio said that to promote the youth in securing good employment opportunities, the Government has provided Rs 1 crore to fund the cost of coaching classes for Civil Services at New Delhi with Rao’s Study Circle for 25 students, and another 100 students with ALS Coaching Centre.
We have also provided funds to Sainik School Punglwa to build more facilities, particularly accommodation for the staff, he said
In the Industries Sector, Rio said the Government has notified the “Nagaland Startup Policy” and during 2020-21, Rs 1.50 crore has been provided for this initiative.
On lack of adequate fund provision for the Agri & Allied sector and the absence of mention of this sector in the budget speech, Rio said “because of our tight resource position we are not in a position to give the level of funds that the sector requires”. However, he informed that the Agri & Allied sector receives the maximum funds under Centrally Sponsored Schemes, and is well placed to fully carry out the desired activities.
He said tourism sector is beginning to show its true potential to generate economic growth. In response to the remark that the programmes of the Government are all festivals, music, dancing and tours only, Rio said the Hornbill Festival has emerged as an engine of economic growth and opportunity for local entrepreneurs. It not only showcases our culture and traditions, but also gives us a fantastic opportunity to introduce our unique food and musical talent to the world, he claimed.
Reiterating that departments need to reorient their way of thinking and give up the traditional habit of spending Plan allocations for civil constructions only, he said, “We need to understand that the Plan or capital allocations are essentially intended to help the department to take up activities that will help build the capacities of the department to deliver better in their respective core areas of functioning”.
On Opposition comments about the abnormal jump in the deficit levels of the State by Rs 573.17 crore in a single year, Rio reiterated that the huge increase in deficit is on account of the reduction in the State share of Central taxes in the Union Budget.
Had there been no reduction in the share of Central Taxes, our deficit would have been reduced to Rs 1,296 crore, he claimed.
The CM also clarified that Rs 6400 crore mentioned by MLA Kuzholuzo Nienu as being spent on vehicles is incorrect and the actual expenditure is Rs 6410.99 lakhs or Rs 64.10 crore.
However, Rio did not dispute the fact that there is need for the State Government to streamline this sector, and rationalize the manner of allotment of vehicles to Government servants as well as reduce expenditure on vehicles to the extent possible. The Chief Secretary will be asked to take necessary steps in this line, so that expenditure in this area can be brought down, he assured.
Rio assured that the Government is in the process of identifying other areas where expenditure can be curtailed given the acute shortage of resources. But reducing of expenditure cannot be unlimited, he said, adding that there is a minimum level of fund requirement beyond which funds that cannot be reduced otherwise departments will be unable to function properly.
Nagaland House Kolkata
On the issue of the Nagaland House Commercial Complex Kolkata, Rio clarified that the High Court of Kolkata has in GA No. 486 of 2018 with CS No. 26 of 2018 dated 27th November 2019 in its interim order directed, inter alia that “In such circumstances, it would be appropriate to observe that the order dated 14th May 2018 will not prevent the defendant/respondent (Government of Nagaland) from evicting the plaintiff/petitioner from the suit property, in accordance with law”.
Accordingly, the Cabinet on February 5 last has authorized the Chief Secretary to file eviction suit against the tenant CEEPL in the Calcutta High Court and a suit has been prepared under the guidance of Advocate General Nagaland which is in the process of being filed, he informed.
(Page News Service)